With twenty minutes left on the clock, the Bees were in with a realistic chance of securing 5 priceless league points from their trip to Taunton. Instead, they were to leave the West Country with nothing from a 27-17 defeat, which did little to improve their NL2S survival prospects.
Familiar failings came back to haunt in the early stages as the Bees found themselves 15-0 down after 24 minutes. A leaky defence combined with some up tempo play from the hosts yielded three tries for the Titans – the first after just 31 seconds. Left wing Ollie Rice bagged the first and third scores, with full back Sam Brown showing his pace for the second. However the home No.15 was unable to slot any of the conversions against the wind.
The Bees had chances to narrow the deficit in the first quarter, but two penalty attempts proved to be out of Jack Jolly’s range, despite having the wind behind his back. They did get on the scoreboard just after the half hour mark though, Luke Smith on hand to poach a try in the right hand corner.
Taunton lock Charlie Williams further exploited some poor tackling to secure the Titan’s fourth and bonus point try five minutes later, Brown finally successful with the conversion attempt.
But it was the visitors who had the final say in the half, when half back Harry O’Brien intercepted a pass and offloaded to Mat Dight who had the gas to get over the try line. A Jolly conversion meant that, at 22-12, the Bees were just ten points adrift at the break.
The Bees started the second half in a far more business-like manner and their endeavour was rewarded after 13 minutes with a try for Matt Spink, after a well worked catch and drive from an attacking line out. Although Jolly was unable to add the extras, just a five-point deficit and seemingly well in the hunt for a bonus point try, Pete Glackin’s men sensed an upset could be on the cards.
More pressure on the Titans line could and perhaps should have yielded that all important fourth score, but referee Phillips was to penalise the Bees at a crucial moment of the game when they were mere metres from the opposition’s whitewash. The home side got out of their 22 and were to grab a decisive score courtesy of right win Aaron Straminski with 5 minutes to go, restoring the ten-point differential.
Bees had an opportunity in the final play of the game to salvage two bonus points from an attacking line out, but Taunton were able to steal the ball and launch it safely into touch.
Valiant in defeat once again, the Bees dearly need a better return of investment from each and every remaining league game, if they are to haul themselves out of the bottom three league slots. The gap between third and fourth bottom now stands at 16 points, with 12 rounds to go.
Bees v Dings Taunton Titans: 1. Alex Willis, 2. Stewart Pearl, 3. Nick Bingham, 4. Andy Weaver, 5. Matt Spink (T), 6.Danny Wright, 7.Michael Stephens, 8.Umraan Jadwat, 9. Jack Jolly (C) (1C), 10. Harry O’Brien, 11 Matt Dight (T), 12. Jimmy Oliver, 13.Dan Kelly, 14.Luke Smith (T) 15, Ben Phillips.
Replacements: 16. Matt Probert, 17. Zane Raimondi, 18. Ashley Scriven, 19. Marcus Brown, 20. Adam Nunney.
Referee:- Samuel Phillips